Willmott Dixon’s low carbon expertise and track record in sustainable projects has led to it being appointed by WWF-UK as main contractor for the charity’s new headquarters building, The Living Planet Centre, in Woking.

The project, worth £15 million, is being carried out by the company’s Cobham office and will see Willmott Dixon provide a sustainable new head office building to replace WWF-UK’s current premises in Godalming.

The design proposal for the redevelopment of the Brewery Road car park site in Woking into WWF-UK’s Living Planet Centre aims for a building that is sympathetic to its natural surrounding while meeting the highest sustainability standards. It will also see Willmott Dixon provide replacement car parking for Woking Borough Council on completion and a new Basingstoke Canal bridge.

David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF-UK, said: “It’s fantastic we can work with Willmott Dixon to create an outstanding example of a sustainable building. The building will have the highest standards in environmental design, reduce our carbon footprint, showcase innovative technologies, promote sustainable working and welcome many visitors to learn about our work.”

The environmentally intelligent building with its eye-catching timber arched roof will not only provide a new purpose built headquarters for WWF-UK but, for the first time, the organisation will be able to showcase its global work through the building itself – with its state-of-the-art sustainable building technologies – including a specifically designed area to create the ‘WWF Experience’. This new public area together with an education suite and 150 seat auditorium will enable visitors – from school groups to local residents, MPs to business leaders – to explore and understand WWF-UK’s environmental work.

John Waterman, managing director for Willmott Dixon’s Cobham office: “We are tremendously proud as a Surrey based office to be involved in delivering such an important project for the region. The focus on making WWF-UK’s new HQ a low carbon, sustainable facility also fits neatly with our ethos and track record for creating buildings that operate in harmony with the environment. The Living Planet Centre will show what can be achieved in this regard with the leadership and vision shown by WWF-UK.”

The design, created by Hopkins Architects, maximises on-site sustainability features. A predominant feature of the new building is its use of greenery. The new building sits on a raised podium over the existing car park whose perimeter will be planted with shrubs, trees and flowers, while a new wetlands area and the retaining of existing trees on site will provide an area promoting ecology from the canal to Horsell Common, showing how urban facilities such as car parks can be transformed and revitalised.